Modelling range shifts and assessing genetic diversity distribution of the montane aquatic mayfly Ameletus inopinatus in Europe under climate change scenarios
aquatic insects, conservation, microsatellites, Population genetics, species distribution modelling, Wahlund effect
Genetic diversity is one of the most important criteria to identify unique populations for conservation purposes. In this study we analyze the genetic population structure of the endangered montane mayfly Ameletus inopinatus in its European range. The species is restricted to unpolluted cold-water streams, and exhibits an insular distribution across highlands of Central Europe and a more continuous distribution across Fennoscandia and Northern Euro-Siberia. We genotyped 389 individuals from 31 populations for eight highly polymorphic microsatellite loci to investigate genetic diversity and population structure within and among European mountain ranges. Genetic diversity of A. inopinatus decreases along an east–west gradient in Central Europe and along a north–south gradient in Fennoscandia, respectively. Centres of exceptionally high genetic diversity are located in the Eastern Alps (Andertal Moor, Austria), the High Tatra, the Beskides, the Sudety Mountains and the Eastern German Highlands. Species distribution modelling for 2080 projects major regional habitat loss, particularly in Central Europe mountain ranges. By relating these range shifts to our population genetic results, we identify conservation units primarily in Eastern Europe, that if preserved would maintain high levels of the present-day genetic diversity and continue to provide long-term suitable habitat under future climate warming scenarios.